A dozen or so residents, armed with clickers, gathered at the Como Community Center to share their thoughts on how to best use federal funds to improve their neighborhoods.

The residents used the clickers to rank the importance of several services and programs the city has funded with the money. Examples included after-school programs, recreational and infrastructure improvements, as well as support for nonprofits and neighborhood revitalization efforts. 

“I implore you to be as honest as you can. There are no right or wrong answers and only truthful ones. So as you’re thinking about giving your feedback, really give the feedback that is important to you. That will help us prioritize everyone in our community,” said Ebony Rose, a District 3 resident who serves on the city’s community development committee, to the group of residents. 

The Consolidated Plan is the city of Fort Worth’s five-year strategic plan to identify housing and community development priorities. The plan details how the city’s Neighborhood Services Department will use about $13.5 million in federal grants annually over five years to address community needs. 

The city is currently soliciting responses from residents to help shape those priorities. 

“We have ideas about what we think needs to be done, but we want to know from the residents, ‘What’s important to you, what you’d like to see addressed?’” said Victor Turner, neighborhood services department director. “That way we know that we’re targeting our money in the right things.”

Resident Sandra Stanley, who has lived in Como for nearly 40 years, attended this meeting to become informed about the possibilities that could come to her neighborhood.

“I just wish we could have more development,” she said of the west Fort Worth neighborhood. “We had people come out here and build homes, but what about Horne Street businesses? We need to instill and empower people and how can we support them to make sure they’re successful.”

Millicent Williams, born and raised in Como, said homebuyer assistance as well as more after-school programs would be beneficial for the area. 

“I’m just glad that there are programs out there that benefit the community. I just hope people use them for what they’re here for,” she said.

The plan is updated every five years, Turner said. The neighborhood services department also publishes a yearly action plan that breaks down what goals will be met from the Consolidated Plan that specific year. It is then followed by a performance review later in the year to see whether those goals are being met.

In past years, the top areas of concern for residents have been the rehabilitation of homes, services for people experiencing homelessness, and after-school or childcare programs. 

Want to share your thoughts? Here’s where you can take the survey:

English: http://bit.ly/FWConPlanSurvey_Eng 

Spanish: http://bit.ly/FWConPlanSurvey_Spa 

Vietnamese: http://bit.ly/FWConPlanSurvey_Viet 

The city budgets around $2.5 million annually to rehabilitate older homes in lower-income communities, Turner said. 

“We’re trying to preserve our existing housing stock,” he said. “So the longer folks can live in their existing homes, it takes pressure off the rental market and even trying to build more houses.”

In past years, the Consolidated Plan has also helped bring improvements to some public infrastructure using Community Development Block Grants. This includes adding trails and shelters in Bunche Park and adding Americans with Disabilities Act improvements to the Northside and the Worth Heights Community Centers. 

Another goal in previous plans was the funding of a Tarrant Area Food Bank mobile pantry to address needs in the city’s food deserts. 

In 2022, Neighborhood Services spent over $18.5 million in CDBG money and served over 13,000 people, according to the latest performance report. 

 “This is an opportunity for all residents to be heard,” said Scott Daniels, communications specialist for Neighborhood Services. 

Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at sandra.sadek@fortworthreport.org or on Twitter at @ssadek19

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Sandra SadekBusiness Reporter

Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. Originally from Houston, she graduated from Texas State University where she studied journalism and international...